Monday, November 07, 2005

TiVo in South Africa

For many years now I have been interested in owning a PVR. The PVR as we know it was immortalised by TiVo. Since the introduction of the TiVo unit, many other options have become available.

Buying a TiVo in South Africa until now was useless as the channel information wasn't available until now (more about this later in the article)
Building your own was very expensive and generally didn't look the part. The free software available such as MythTV was buggy and complicated to use, let alone install.
Building your own PVR by either using MythTV, Meedio or Microsoft Windows Media Centre Edition did a lot more than TiVo such as DVD burning, weather forecasts, etc which were moderately useful.

Now Multichoice has come to the rescue with their new DSTV PVR. It includes not only one touch recording and Dual View, but also the ability to watch one program whilst recording another, setting the PVR to record the same program every week and replacing your existing DSTV decoder.

At the same time, tivoZA has come up with their own solution. It involves buying a Series One TiVo system off eBay, and then installing some software that allows you to access South African Programming (SABC, MNET, etv and DSTV).

Comparing the two...

Good points about the TiVo :
1. Advert Skipping
2. Access via PC and therefor DVD burning
3. Price is much cheaper than anything else
4. TiVo interface is supposed to be really good

Bad point about TiVo:
1. Can't record one channel whilst watching another
2. Doesn't replace the DSTV unit
3. Seems to require a VCR as well since there is no pal tuner (If you don't use DSTV)
4. Incredible hassle required to Purchase TiVo unit
5. After unit price on eBay, shipping and cost of purchasing DSTV unit, it is not that cheap any more
6. Incredible hassle to set up for SA

That being said, the interface is really important and a lot will depend on the DSTV PVR's interface.
As for Advert skipping, this feature has been built-in but disabled to give advertisers time to acclimitise. It should therefore only be a matter of days until it is hacked to allow it to do Advert Skipping.

If anyone has any information and screenshots of the DSTV PVR's interface, please let me know by leaving a comment


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the full discussion on how the TiVo stacks up against the Multichoice PVR have a look at the following two forum topics:

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Isaac Lundall said...

Hi Joel

I'm interested in getting a PCI card with a DSTV decoder capability. Do you know if these exist? Ideally I'd want to get one that can receive signals from satelite services other than Multichoice. Basically a decoder set top box replacement that is more versatile.


1:56 AM  
Blogger Joel Basson (JStrike) said...

isaac : They are available, but hey are also expensive. To view DSTV you will aditionally need to purchase an IRDETO 2 CAM module, which is also very expensive. Ask at your local PC Store and they should be able to order one for you. I believe it is a DVB-T type card you will need as well as the CAM. But look on the internet and make sure that DVB-T is correct for SA

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think of it as a iPod Multimedia Home theater system

Apple's Mac mini will be reborn as the digital hub centerpiece it was originally conceived to be, Think Secret sources have disclosed. The new Mac mini project, code-named Kaleidoscope, will feature an Intel processor and include both Front Row 2.0 and TiVo-like DVR functionality.

Can't wait........

"An Apple a day keeps Microsloth away."

Mario Baptista JoBurg

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ineed a CAM for Dstv decorder SA

12:40 PM  

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